Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School

I have a raging headache, but I started a post tonight. I am going to lay down for a while. Back soon.

Here is the post I was working on when the headache got the better of me:

I always loved "Back to School" time - even still, out of school for many years, I go to the "Back to School" sales and marvel at the supplies and miss that beginning of the school year energy. Even when I worked for the school district, I always loved the beginning of the school year - it is scary but exhilerating at the same time. Meeting the new teachers, new friends, learning new subjects. New paper and pens and pencils (have I written about how much I LOVE office supplies?) are among my favorite things.

When I was in middle school and high school, I had a friend who lived a couple of blocks away and we used to spend the evening before school started together - usually sitting outside in the front yard, just talking and imaging and worrying. The days were still long at the end of August, so we would sit out there chatting until well after dark. Then, to bed. But I could never sleep. Even when I was working, I could never sleep the night before classes commenced - too nervous/excited.

So, to all teachers and kids out there, Happy Back to School week! Enjoy it while it lasts!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Remembering the Dreams of my 6 year old self

This video is why I wanted to be a teacher. When I was six years old, I thought *all* teachers were something like the teacher in these videos and I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to do anything different in the world.

It made my heart hurt a little to know that if we just had more teachers who felt they could do this, children's lives (everyone's lives) would be so much better. Thank you to all the teachers who touched my life, to all the teachers who are still in the fray, even though it is getting harder and harder to stay.

"Children Full of Life" – posted on Aug. 29, 2009 by Patti Digh on Facebook

part 2

part 3

part 4

part 5

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Prince and Rumi - That Kind of Day

“Outside ideas of Rightness and Wrongness, there is a field. I’ll meet you there." ~ Rumi

I was reading a rather contentious email thread for a group I subscribe to and one of the posters had the Rumi quote in their signature.  I really liked it, so here we are. :)

So now, for a complete non sequitur:

A couple of weeks ago, I read something about a "Purple Rain" Sing-A-Long. As "Purple Rain" is one of the top 10 most perfect albums ever, and as it was popular when I was in high school and therefore burned into my psyche for all eternity, I was quite excited by the thought.  I immediately searched for a "Purple Rain" Sing-A-Long in Portland, because, although you may not know it, Portland is quite the Sing-A-Long town.  I have participated in the "West Side Story", "Grease", "Wizard of Oz" and "Once More With Feeling" (Buffy, Season 6 musical episode) Sing-A-Longs and had a GREAT time.  I love to sing and I particularly love to sing when no one else in the audience is all that great of a singer, either, so there is little judgement on either part. 

Alas, I could not find a "Purple Rain" Sing-A-Long and have yet to hear of one coming.  This year marks the 25th (!!!) Anniversary of the movie and there was a Sing-A-Long in NYC, but apparently, we are a little too granola or something and couldn't wrap our mind around an evening of singing "Let's Go Crazy" or "I Would Die 4 U".  It is disappointing to say the least.

When I was 17 and the movie first came out on video (I will share my "Purple Rain" inaugural viewing at a later date), we would go up to the local (meaning locally-owned) video store where I alternated between renting "West Side Story" and "Purple Rain". The owner could not understand a girl who watched the same movies over and over again.  Finally, when my mother asked to buy a copy of "West Side Story" for $80 (that was a lot of money for something like that), he had to Special Order it.  He thought she was insane.  He told her the only people who buy videos are video store owners. He did not yet know the future of video was in sales, not rental. After the zillionth time I walked up to the counter with "my movie", he said he would order another one if I wanted to buy the used copy - that way he could sell it to me for cheap.  Of course, it was BETA (the superior format). And, of course, I took him up on his offer.  It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 

Anyway, I put "Purple Rain" in tonight to listen to as I was messing around online.  The music certainly stands the test of time.  And Prince still exudes a marvelous naughty aura.  The movie isn't the greatest, but it is a cult classic.  

Maybe I should organize my own "Purple Rain" Sing-A-Long.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Waste of a Day or Exactly What I Needed

I did nothing of use today...I worked some, even though it is my day off.  I tried working on, but I want to change the template but I'm feeling fearful about it...what if I hate it or lose everything or??  I tried reading, I checked my Facebook, checked my email, watched some TV.

I really had stuff I needed to do and wanted to do, but I think I needed a day to dink around and do nothing useful.  That's one of the bad things about burnout - it burns up my days off with apathy and feeling like I can't be bothered to do something more productive.

Tomorrow, though, I'm turning over a new leaf.  I have things to do.  :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Log Jam

Well, it was bound to daily work world and my theatrical interpreting world crashed into each other this week.  It is all coming out ok, but I think it is because I just realized I can only do what I can do.  

I'm looking at some time management stuff to help me manage better.  The irony is that the stuff I want to fit in ISN'T work for once.  I want to manage my time for work better so that I can WRECK and do the Artist's Way and get ready for the Joy Diet book group and READ and watch a movie without feeling like I should be doing something else.  Although it has been a week of frustration and franticness, I learned a lot and I feel good about my decision to find a way to make the work work better so that the LIFE can be better.

Thanks to all of you who support me in any of these endeavors to en-joy life and to just be a person instead of a widget.  I think sometimes I felt like if I wasn't a widget, what was I doing here?  Now I know that I can "be" a widget for a part of my life, but I AM NOT A WIDGET.  It is GOOD to have a life outside of work.  It is good to find more personal satisfaction in personal stuff than in work - that is MORE NORMAL than my old habits. 

I'm not sure what all of this means in terms of the big picture, but when I can look calmly at it, I know it is the right direction to follow.  

P.S. The show went pretty well, I think.  Had a few minor bumps, but all the songs I was struggling to translate came together for the show, which was nice.  Topol is an amazing person, by the way. I'm still amazed at his work after all these years.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Beauty of Youth

I love seeing kids and parents at events with music - I love to see the little kids dancing their hearts out - swirling and waving without self-consciousness.

This little girl seems to go to a dance school, but there is just something so beautiful about her lack of inhibitions, her confidence and comfort in her body. Beautiful.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Fiddler on the Roof" and a link

Full day today - work and craziness all day (rip in pants, health emergency in the family, phone call bad, show, late to work)...saw "Fiddler on the Roof" in Topol's "Farewell Tour".  I read that he is 73 years old and still performing in a touring company.

If I get to be 73 and can tour the country and perform in a musical for 3 hours a night, 8 shows a week, I will say that all is well with the world.  

And here is a clip of the singing sensation on XFactor in Britain - he's a teacher and a great singer.  Just a great performance by someone who looks like a nice guy.  Click Here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Deferred Dreams Revisited

I have wrapped a blanket of creativity around me and I am loving the smell and the color and the warmth of it.  The blanket has led me to meet a bunch of amazing people in the cyberworld - some folks I have met, some who were already friends and some people I might never get to see in the flesh.  It is kind of amazing that such a simple thing - this blog- can lead to such an opening, blossoming of a life, a spirit.

I return again and again to the hot spot that came up for me during the first day of my "Live Your Wild and Precious Life Now!" telecourse - "I'm still alive."  I feel like so much of my spirit has been hibernating for years.  I don't regret it, I don't have any blame to lay anywhere.  It just is.  I put my creative life to sleep with some fairy dust and a hope that I could wake it up again someday.  I just didn't know how long it would take.

Roby and I were friends - alive and together - for 13 years.  This 13th year after his death has been the spring of my grief - green sprouts of Jean are popping up all over. The only hard part of this reawakening is that the scales are tipped wildly in the direction of this new-found life.  I want to write. I want to create. I want to connect.  My other life, my work in the world is made of a different material.  It is a little bit scratchier, a little bit thicker.  It is browner.  It doesn't fly in the wind the way I wish it would.   

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Safety of Objects - The Artist's Way

Week one of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron talks about items that bring us a sense of safety.  When I first read about that, I kind of thought, "What do you mean?"  I think in this life we have so many THINGS in our lives that we touch or see regularly that we don't really - I don't really think about it.

It only took me a couple of minutes to think of one object that I would say gave me a sense that all was right with the world and ironically, it is the one item I don't have readily available to me anymore.

My object is a tiny pewter Piglet pin (Piglet of Classic Winnie the Pooh stories) that I bought with Roby's mom and sister the day we picked up his ashes.  We had stopped at a little store for goodness only knows what and I saw these tiny little pins and bought one for each of us as a talisman.  Hard to explain now, but it made sense then.

I wore my pin every day for about 3 years - even one of the students I used to interpret with remembers it.  I touched it any time I was feeling stressed or anxious.  Just a tiny pin that represented Roby's spirit - it felt to me as if that pin had him in it.  When I touched it, I felt grounded.  

One day, years after I started wearing it, I got into my car after a job and when my hand went to my collar to touch it, as was my habit, it was gone!  I panicked.  Literally freaked.  I looked everywhere, I went back to the job and looked and asked others to keep an eye out for my pin.  I wept when I realized it was probably gone.  I mean, this thing is TINY and the back of the pin was a tie tack - they get loose eventually.  Finally, a couple of days later, I was getting into my car and found it tucked between my car seat and the emergency break.  I was ecstatic and decided to put the pin on a ribbon hanging from my rear view mirror.  Not the same as wearing it daily, but I didn't want to lose it because of the loose tie tack (um, replace the back...).

When the car was totalled in an accident, I had to pull all my stuff out of the car and I put it in a box that I have lost track of...but I still think about that pin.  And miss it.  Sometimes, my hand will stray to my collar to touch it.  It isn't there, but I think that is where I carry Roby's energy still.

So, there you have it.  My safety object. I know I have it here somewhere, and now I am motivated to try to find it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Attitude Adjustment and Gratitude

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."~ Oprah Winfrey

In my tiredness and anxiety lately, I have been focusing on all the wrong things.  So today, I am focusing on the good.  I know that this is a better way to go.  It is harder to remember when you are tired.

I'm lucky in so many ways and I'm grateful for my good life full of good friends, my family, work that I enjoy, endeavors that I love.  I have a good job, I have my health and when you come down to it, that's all that is really important in life.

I am still and always working on en-joying life, on being grateful and creating those little moments of happiness.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Friday, August 21, 2009

And Another Thing...

Read Carolynn's eleoquent and thought-provoking post here.

I often feel so insignificant and power-less.  But each of us can smile and maybe prevent a tragedy.  I'll have to remember that.

Wrecking Sisters - A Little Off-Topic

My experience with Jamie Ridler's "The Next Chapter: Wreck This Journal" has not ended...not only because we are continuing our Wreckage, thanks to Grammy for setting up Wrecking Sisters Reunited, but because of the incredible women I met online through the process.

Today, I was reading at Kavindra's A Clear Path to Happy and I started looking at some of the great sites on her blogroll and I was so inspired by some of the hope and beautiful people and initiatives available online, reminded of some of my own favorite sites, as well.  

I have had a hard week and I wanted to share some of the beauty that is out there, not just from Kavindra's list, but things I have found, love and want to implement in my world/life.

Hope Revolution 

Operation Beautiful

Welcome to the Joy Rebellion

Operation NICE


Jamie Ridler Studios


I know there are many many more...I will be adding some of these to my own blogroll here.  I just wanted to put something positive into the world today.  It seemed important.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Thought

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."  ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

I'm trying. It takes determination, that's for sure.  The world is throwing a lot of obstacles my way right now, but I am moving forward, right or wrong.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Groundhog Day?? Anyone? Anyone?

I didn't ever finish the movie "Groundhog Day" because I just couldn't get through the 4th or 5th time the same thing happened in the movie.  It just didn't hold any interest for me.  I'm pretty sure that when I saw it, I was a freelance interpreter and I had no idea that many lives are kind of like a horrific Groundhog Day or how much, some days, it would be really nice to have Groundhog Day so that you could just do that one little thing over.

Today was that day.  To tell you the truth, I might start the day over by not getting out of bed.  Or maybe getting out of bed earlier.  Even though I only really lived it one time, this day has chewed me up and spit me back out. And I don't think I tasted very good.

And, I didn't do anything artful or artistic or artisty in any way whatsoever.  And now I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pink as a Transformative Device

"I am not a sidekick. I am the hero in my story and I am making my cape (it is pink)." ~ Jean (from my Live Your Wild and Precious Life Now! teleconference homework)

A few years ago, I experienced an intense period of grief and struggled to get a foothold on myself and my life.  It was difficult and I learned a lot about myself in the process.  I felt like my life was covered in a dark grey film - it covered everything, muted everything.  There were colors, emotions, joys, dreams, but they were all tinged with this grey film.

At one point, I had a health situation come up and I had to have surgery and was hospitalized for the first time in my life. During my recovery, I went to the beach with my family and some family friends.  I was not well and not up for running around the coast.  I mostly stayed at the beach house and slept and breathed in the coastal air.  One one of the last days I was there, I was bored and I decided to venture out on my own for an hour or so.  I ended up at the Seaside Factory Outlet stores in the Liz Claiborne store.  I was looking at purses.  My favorite color had been purple for years and purple was "in".  I found a couple of purses - one with purple and little white flowers on it.  As I was looking around, I spotted "THE ONE".   A PINK purse unlike any purse I had ever had and PINK!!!  I bought it, and the purple and white flowered one, too.

It took me a couple of weeks but then I started to carry the pink purse (I need to find that...).  When I carried it, people who know me well would say things like, "I never would have imagined you with a pink purse like suits you."  I heard this over and over again.  After a few months, I realized that something was stirring in me.  

Pink became my color.  I would see pink EVERYWHERE.  Someone told me that pink had something to do with the heart chakra (when I looked it up, I think they were thinking of something else).  What I knew was that this attraction (obsession??) with PINK, the brighter, the better, had to do with the stripping away of the grey film.  PINK shows through the grey strong and clear before it is all gone.  

Now, there are still strips of grey and days when the film seems to cover everything, but it is less often and I see the PINK in my world, in myself.  I have a YELLOW car, another step in re-coloring my life after a long grey spell.

I know that this might sound weird to anyone who has not experienced something like this, but it is the truth.  I was always attracted to bright, shiny, neon colors - I wanted everything to be fluorescent colored when I was a kid.  I took a lot of heat for that as a kid and I buried a lot of those tendencies.  Now, I love PINK and YELLOW (capitalized because of the brightness I mean when I write it) and I am proud of that.  People in my world (work, home, relationships) know that I am "colorful" and they accept and embrace it in me.  It is part of my charm.  (See the pink Kitty Clock in a post from a couple of days ago).

So, stay tuned.  Who knows what color I will be next.  For now, I am tickled PINK.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Overcommitted in a Good Way

I'm overcommitted to my own personal growth and development.  I've been doing my telecourse, am interested in going through "The Artist's Way" with a blog group (any from the Wreck this Journal journey), finishing Wrecking and will be joining the "Joy Diet" group in September.

All of this is an attempt (it is working) to grow and en-joy my life more.  I am loving it, but I am in that stage where all I want to do is all the stuff that makes me feel good -writing, art, painting, wrecking, reading.  

Obviously, I maintain my work in the world, but it is a difficult choice most days.  For the most part, I enjoy what I do and the people I work with.  But something is missing for me on a deep, creative level.  Interpreting satisfied that level of need, creativity and connection.  Managing is not the same thing.  It is less intellectual and more emotional, it is less creative and more rote.  The more numbers and columns of numbers and rote tasks I perform, the more I long for something that taps into my thinking brain.

So, I am overcommitted to change.  Not that I need to be fixed, but that I am looking for a path that has more variety and musicality and color.  I just have to figure out the balance.  It seems like the more I discover myself, the more intense the work in the world gets.  Does it feel itself becoming second priority?  Does it know and therefore it is trying to defend itself against my exploration?

Am I just tired and rambling?  Perhaps.  Doesn't mean it doesn't have some merit.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wild Woman Poster I found

I love this poster. I found it on SwirlyGirl's blog, but she directed me to BlissChick which directed me to DaisyBones, who created the poster from BlissChick's words.

If you go to BlissChick's blog here, you can download it for free. :) I'm probably going to post it on the sidebar, too, so you will be seeing this one for a while.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Blog Aesthetics

This is a light-weight post because I have had a heavy-weight week...

I want to change the look of my blog, but I feel like I am stuck in a rut.  I tried new colors and whatnot yesterday, but I just couldn't come up with anything that satisfied me.  I even decided I was going to do an HTML code tutorial.  I got far enough to do the title, some body stuff, color the background and make the font larger/smaller, bold/italic/regular, but then I realized that it would take me FOREVER to learn how to built a website.  

Then I looked for Blogger templates that I might like...I don't like the ones that are here that much, so I looked at other stuff and I just couldn't find anything that suited me.  

I think I have to break out of my color thing and find something.  White seems too stark after all this time, but maybe some other color that is not "typical Jean".  Maybe some fall colors...

Anyway, don't be surprised if you see some crazy blog changes.  If you hate something, or it is hard to read, please let me know.  If you love something, please let me know.

[Kitty clock is in my office at work. Just felt like this post needed a photo and this was the first one I found that made me smile.]

Friday, August 14, 2009

Inspiring but I Haven't Done it Yet

Patti Digh has done it again- she came up with a great idea and something that I WANT to do and have not started yet.

She has started to send a "Thank You" card a day and intends to do so for life.

I love this idea as I buy THANK YOU cards and stamps for THANK YOU cards and pens for THANK YOU cards and I don't write them. Sometimes I want to write them for silly little things or big things or just because.  Why don't I do it?  I can say because I'm busy, because I'm tired, because I procrastinate, because I didn't have the right pen or the right card. What is the real reason?

Sometimes, when I want to do it, I end up going to the scary place in my head where I imagine the other person's reaction and I scare myself off. Sometimes, I carry them around for days and days and then the impulse just goes away.  Sometimes, I don't know what I would say, even though I just really want to say THANK YOU, so I don't write it.

Not as any excuse, but I am planning to start after my show on Aug. 27 (I think that's the date).  I have the pens. I have the cards.  I have the will.  I have the website (go here first then follow the links) where I know I can find inspiration and support.  I may not manage to do it every day for the rest of my life, but I need to do this.  It is important.  I can feel it in my stomach.  

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Second Sign of the Apocolypse

So, the first sign was the iPhone application for babies which I wrote about here.

The second Sign of the Apocolypse (now dubbed SOTA) is the atrocity that we call tv news.  It doesn't matter whether it is local or network.  I don't know why I still feel compelled to TRY to watch the news...I keep thinking I will get some information, and I never do.  I get so annoyed that I have to turn it off before the weather from STORM TEAM 2009 or HEATSTROKE 2009 or LEAVESWILL BLOW 2009.  Sometimes, the weather is watchable. Mostly, I don't even get there...

Case in point:  Tonight, in the Columbia River Gorge, searchers are looking for two hikers who called 911 because they were lost and had NO IDEA WHERE THEY ARE!!!  Shocking!! Lost people who DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY ARE!!  Now, it is August, after all, so we would think that they would be fine overnight because it isn't like it is January.  But tonight, it is a little chilly, according to SOTA reporter who then asks the weather person about the conditions for the lost hikers who have NO IDEA WHERE THEY ARE!!! The weather person replied (and I am NOT kidding), "Well, they have hit the weather trifecta tonight.  A little bit of rain, a little bit of wind and a little bit chilly tonight."

OH NO!!  The lost hikers who have NO IDEA WHERE THEY ARE might get rained on in Oregon!!!  Whatever will they do?  And it might be windy, in the Gorge, where there are windsurfing competitions at least annually.  I'm stunned.  And it might be chilly tonight.  That is definitely the weather trifecta.  Yessiree, bob.  

I mean, good lord.  I don't really know how they say this crap with a straight face.  And I know it isn't probably as freaky here as it sounds when perfectly reasonable-looking human beings are saying things like "searchers are looking for some lost hikers who HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THEY ARE" in any kind of non Saturday Night Live way.  

Can't we say "Searchers are looking for two lost hikers in the Columbia River Gorge.  It is unclear what kind of supplies or equipment they have to protect them from the elements. Searchers hope to locate them as soon as possible."  It is simple. Let's convey our concern by not being ridiculous.

Second SOTA.  I'm just saying.

**P.S.  I hope the hikers are found soon.  My rant is about HOW things are reported.  I'm sure I will come up with another example soon. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What day is it???

I worked through the weekend...last week, all LONG days....this week, all long days...home around 9:30 or so every night...

I'm tired.  What day is it?


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Imagining Something Different

Right now, I feel like I'm having some kind of out of body experience.  I find myself thinking about all the things I want to do that will be fun, that will be fulfilling, that are interesting.  

This is the first time in my life that I have not found my work completely engaging and rewarding.

Tonight, for example, I was looking at my September Oprah magazine and all I could see were bits for a collage.  "Live Now."  "Who Inspires me to live?" Stories about powerful women, quotes from them.  Beautiful photos and colors.  I want to create things and yet I don't know how to create anything but stories.  I am learning, though, and I want to spend all my time doing that.

Is that crazy?  Is this like all the other parts of my life that catch up to the general zeitgeist of the time right when everyone else is moving on to the next thing?  I guess it doesn't matter either way.  It is how I feel and I am trying to figure out how to indulge those feelings and still get everything else done.

My brain is a complex thing.  It perplexes me sometimes.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Change, Choice and Principles

"There are three constants in life... change, choice and principles." ~ Stephen Covey

Well, this quote showed up in the "Quote of the Day" section of my blog and it seemed very appropos.  

Today was a day of change and of choice and of re-evaluating my principles (or making sure they are all still intact).

The sign I used to have up at work "Choose Your Attitude" stays with me and comes to me at odd times.  Today, in a moment of pique, I reacted badly.  After a few minutes, I realized I needed to choose a different attitude, apologized to those who needed my apology and gave myself an attitude adjustment.

Being an adult isn't always fun.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Missing the Mark

Time flies...I didn't realize how close it was to the time when I needed to send my little 4X6 piece of bravery. It needed to be in North Carolina by tomorrow, but I haven't even created it yet. Disappointing. But I haven't given up. I am going to still make it this week and send it because it is something I need to do.

I'm sure that some of the reason I haven't completed this is because I'm feeling some fear or anxiety.

The good news is that I am actively working on developing my creativity, on feeling the fear and pushing through it. I was on a timeline, but I lost track.

Ah, well. I missed the mark. I will do it this week and send it off.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rant on Saturday Night

Ok...this really is a bit of a rant about a bunch of little nothing things, so bear with me...

I got called into work today. I'm not going to talk about it, but suffice to say that I was not really prepared to go in today as I had planned on working tomorrow. Now it seems both days are ruined. :( So, no love in the Wreck this Journal World...I was going to do some wrecking today. No reading (I bought a copy of "Julie and Julia" right before Mr. Kindle arrived...). No cleaning or laundry.

On the way to work the other day, I heard that they were having a Spa Expo at the Portland Expo Center...and they were talking about Swim Spas. I had never even heard of such a thing until about 6 or 8 months ago. The commercial has been on KPOJ non-stop for at least the last 4 days. Today, I was obsessing about it. "How nice would it be to come home at 9pm and climb into the spa/swim spa/hot tub? How expensive can that be?" Um...$20,000-40,000 is how expensive. So when they are yelling, "Close out!! 40-60% Off!!", what they really mean is, "It really doesn't matter how much of a sale we have because you won't be able to afford one anyway!". Disappointing.

On a positive note, I stopped by Powell's on the way home (I checked for a Kindle copy and it is not available) and picked up "The Artist's Way". I'm going to try it. I have been doing all these Arty things and really enjoying them. So, some more arty-ness, some more stuff to grow my life. This is a good thing. Very good.

So, no swim spa, no movie yet this weekend, but books are good. Kindle is good.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Goodnight, Sweet 80s Prince part II

I forgot all about mentioning Ducky from "Pretty in Pink". I LOVED HIM!!

And I'd like to direct you to a post about John Hughes that helped me understand why he was so admired and why his movies resonated with us all so deeply. Get out your hankies...

The Blog is "We'll Know When We Get There" and the post is "Sincerely, John Hughes"

(courtesy of Patti Digh (37Days) from a posting on Facebook.)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Goodnight, Sweet 80's Prince

John Hughes died today at age 59.

You can go anywhere on the web today and read about him and his impact on teen films and anyone who grew up or came of age in the 1980s.

My favorite film by John Hughes is "The Breakfast Club" (I also love "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" and of course, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off").

I can't say that I have a "favorite scene" in "TBC"...I love the whole movie. My favorite line is from John Bender, played by Judd Nelson (I think I still have a crush on him...), "Screws fall out all the time, sir, the world's an imperfect place." My other favorite line from Bender is, "Hey, how come Andrew gets to get up? If he gets up . . . we'll all get up . . . it'll be anarchy!"

I'm not sure, but I think that for anyone who was a teenager in 1985 and probably since then, the essay that Brain wrote for them all at detention is the teenager's manifesto...
"[opening narration immediately after the title sequence]
Brian Johnson: Saturday, March 24,1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois, 60062. Dear Mr. Vernon, We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us - in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That's the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed."

John Hughes, you will be missed.

"Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kindle 2 and Book-Guilt

I decided to buy myself a treat and ordered a Kindle 2 since the price recently came down.  I have been wanting one for a while - I think it will at least help me reduce the piles of books that co-exist with me.  

I feel the guilt of a book-lover, though.  I love the feel of the paper, the texture of the pages, the cover.  I marvel at the colors, at the smell of new books, the fonts.  There are PERFECT books in the world.  

My plan, for now, is to Kindle for travel, to Kindle for work books (business, management, motivation, time management), to Kindle for trade paperbacks or books that don't have those kinds of kinesthetic delights.

Books like my stunningly perfect copy of "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" (hard back, First Edition- courtesy of Kevin), "Live is A Verb", my Harry Potter collection, BookFest books - those will always be books that I have in my collection and that I enjoy - the heft, the smell, the texture, the colors on the cover...

I feel good about having something light to travel and something that will save a few trees.  I can't wait to try it.  It is charging as I type. Maybe this will be the tech gadget that I don't regret buying!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Memories in a Hand Drawn Blueprint

One of the activities I did for my homework for my telecoaching class was to draw the floor plan of my childhood home.  Since I grew up in a lot of different homes as an Air Force Brat, I wasn't sure which home I would remember most clearly or which would be the most evocative as far as memories go.

I drew one for each place I have lived (several posts under the tag "Nostalgia" are about these places with Google Earth pictures).  A couple of interesting things happened for me.  First, it was interesting to really think about what I could remember of the places I have lived.  I remember 3 major childhood homes, and one other that I have a vague sense of where things were located, but more memories of the outside of the apartment building and the places we played.

The house that I used in my conversation was the first house I lived in until I was 6 years old.  My memory is filled with sensory moments - mostly visual snapshots.  Most vividly, I remember helping my mother make the beds.  She had a moss green chenille bedspread that had lighter, almost lime green fringe around the edges (it was the late 60s, early 70s).  I remember holding the ends of the bedspread and we would throw the fabric up to catch the air and I remember the sun shining through the windows, through the fabric and how safe I felt and how much I wanted to be like my mother.  I remember longing to go to school.  I remember the little alcove just inside the front door where we had a wooden carving of a siamese cat.  The doorbell rang from that alcove and I always thought it came from the cat statue.  I remember my dad bringing home a beagle puppy in his jacket pocket and him showing her to us right there in the doorway near that alcove.  

We had a room in that house and the apartment we lived in when we were on base housing in Germany, that we called "the little bedroom".  It was where we had a small TV, my mom's sewing machine, a couch that pulled out and our 8 track stereo.  My favorite tape was Kenny Rogers and the First Edition's Greatest Hits (the silver one that you can't really find anymore but that I have on vinyl).  My other favorite was the Fifth Dimension.  I remember dancing around helping my mother clean the house - I loved to help her dust with Pledge on all our wooden tables.  **Flash - just now I remember one time laying under our coffee table and drawing on the bottom with chalk.  When we moved, I was afraid my parents would be mad at me, but they weren't .  I had used chalk and it brushed off.

I remember the back yard with the swings and squirrels who lived in the porch.  I remember one time, I got in trouble and sent to my room.  I lay on my bed, but I was so scared of my mom being mad at me that I snuck outside and saw a beautiful flower - it was bright orange and yellow (I think it was a clematis  or amaryllis).  I didn't want my mother to be mad anymore, so I picked it for her.  When I gave it to her, I remember her just hugging me and letting me come out of my room.  Later, she told me that she knew it had come from our yard because that was the only plant around the city like that.  I remember we had a beautiful wisteria and my mom was so proud of that tree.

When we were getting ready to move, I took small treasures and hid them around the area.  I knew that we wouldn't be coming home for a long time, so I hid a Playskool plastic trike looking thing that was painted like a giraffe and hid it in the bushes at the doctor's office.  I took dolls that were not my favorite and hid them behind the garage in the back yard and in the bushes around that doctor's office.  It was a big black building with lots of shrubs along the walkway.  If any kids ever looked in there, they found a treasure trove waiting for me to return to it.

One time, my cousins came to visit us - I was about 4 or so.  We all went to the City Park that was across the medical center/doctor's office parking lot and across one more street.  We would say it was "kitty corner" to the house.  There were the 3 boy cousins, my sister, the dads and the moms.  We played on the swings and then finally, the dads said they would push us on the merry-go-round.  We gathered quite a crowd of people - lots of kids on the wooden toy.  The dads pushed and pushed and somehow, I let go and fell off, the centrifugal force pulling me under the merry-go-round.  I had rolled and ended up face down on the ground with the wooden merry-go-round whizzing past me, slapping me on the behind the whole time.  After what seemed like a long time, laying face down in the dirt, the dads got the thing stopped and pulled me out.  I don't remember if I was crying or not, but my dad carried me back home.  My mom had me change into my nightgown and as they were all sitting around shooting the breeze, they sent me over to my dad who took me over his knee, face down and spent the next however long pulling splinter after splinter out of my poor red behind.  Even at that age, I was horrified that they were all so casually sitting there chatting while my behind was exposed to everyone.  I loved my father for not hurting me while he was pulling the jillions of splinters out, but I hated him for doing it in front of other people.  

Happier memory - we used to take wax paper to the City Park and sit on it as we rode down the slide to make it go faster.  I loved to do that.  The more you waxed it, the faster you would go down the slide.  We used to go to the "Recreation Center" that was there and do crafts.  I learned to make potholders and did macrame, painted, made popsicle stick art and went to Shakey's Pizza for a party.  I remember that trip because Chicago's "Saturday in the Park" was popular and I got a migraine and threw up on the bus ride home.  

Good times.  Goal:  Get some of the slides scanned so I can add them to the posts.  Visuals help. :)  

[The photo is me in first grade.]

Monday, August 3, 2009

Yay for 80 degrees!

It is cooler today...only 81 degrees in my house at 9:00pm.  It will be better tonight.  I will sleeeep.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fate or Sometimes Things Happen for a Reason

I'm participating in my telecoaching conference and part of what we are doing is making peer calls to discuss the principles in more intimate, personal ways. For me, participating in the large group is less stressful because, frankly, less is required of me.  In the large group, there is always someone willing to speak out, speak up and while I may not verbalize, I am fully present and participating - thinking, taking notes, having "aha" moments.

The first peer call was to be initiated by me - I would call my peer partner.  So I did.  It was a huge step for me to reach out and call a person I'd never met and talk about some personal stuff.  But I did it.  I was nervous that I would be lame or the person would think I wasn't "there" or something equally paranoid.  The person I spoke with was gregarious, curious, participatory, friendly.  It was a perfect match up.

I had my second peer call today.  It has been a couple of weeks since the call and I checked my email but no contact from my peer partner - they were the initiator.  I looked the person up and realized they didn't have email - but they had my phone number and they had an alternate email where the person would give them a message.  I sent off a note, just letting them know I would be game for trying to figure out a time (they are on the east coast).  We finally decided to talk today - 8:00am my time - I couldn't bring myself to force the person to wait until the middle of their day.

With the heat of the week, I have not really been as focused on the homework - sort of similar to my journal wrecking - away from home, out of my element, hot and miserable, so I didn't get much accomplished.  I did some of the assignments but not all of them.  I was worried that my peer would be so far ahead and that I would be letting them down by not having completed everything.  When we got on the phone, the first thing the person did was tell me that they had not done the reading and they had not done the homework due to a stressful week.  I reassured them that I had not completed all the assignments myself and we talked about what we had done.  It was a lovely conversation and the person really seemed to feel comforted by knowing they were not alone. I complimented them on following through with the call, even though they had been worried about it because many people would just cancel instead.  

I find it amazing that both weeks, I was paired with exactly the right person for me - comfortable, dealing with similar issues.  While I'm not proud that I didn't complete all of the work (I hope to by Tuesday's call), I do think that things happen for a reason. 

Saturday, August 1, 2009

An Epiphany about Perfection

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” ~Martha Graham

While I was getting ready today, I was thinking about something that I hadn't done to my satisfaction. This thought led me to perfectionism and to the thought that nothing is ever really perfect. Then I thought about perfect moments - I have experienced a few of those. Moments when you know that all is right in your world. The perfect sky, the perfect food, the perfect kiss, the perfect words said at just the right moment, the perfect combination of any or all of those things.

What do perfect things have in common? Surprise. Serendipity. Spontenaity.

Pefection cannot be planned, cannot be forced. Perfection lies in the unexpected quality of the moment.

Expecting perfection is then a way to stave it off. Force it away. To plan for perfection or to set it as a goal is the surest way to prevent it from even peeking in the window.

Interesting, huh? I have to ponder.


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